A second Title IX lawsuit has been filed against the University of Kansas by another member of the women’s rowing team who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a former KU football player.
Attorney Dan Curry filed the lawsuit Monday in Douglas County District Court for client “Jane Doe 7,” a current KU student who chose to file under a pseudonym.
The 21-page petition alleges that Jane Doe was sexually assaulted on Aug. 29 in her room at Jayhawker Towers. On March 21, Curry filed a suit for former KU rower Daisy Tackett, who alleged she was sexually assaulted in late 2014, also at Jayhawker Towers. Tackett’s parents, James and Amanda, also sued KU in March, accusing it of misleading representations about the safety of campus housing.
Curry stated in a news release that the alleged assailant in the two cases is the same former member of the KU football team, who in March agreed to be expelled from the school following a university investigation. None of the lawsuits names the former football player.
In the petition, which seeks “an amount in excess of $75,000,” Jane Doe alleges she reported the sexual assault to Lawrence police and KU security on Oct. 19. Afterwards, Jane Doe claims she suffered a hostile educational environment, which is in violation of Title IX.
“KU made me feel worthless,” Jane Doe said in a release provided by Curry. “After I reported my assault, everything KU did made me feel like they were trying to get me to crack and leave. My rowing team coaches didn’t care, didn’t help, and they did not protect me.”
Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, KU director for news and media relations, said the university does not comment on individual sexual assault investigations but added, “When the university receives a report of sexual assault, we quickly take action to support the person who came forward and work to investigate and resolve the matter. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
A spokesperson for the KU athletic department said it was deferring all comment to the university because of the pending litigation.
In the lawsuit, Jane Doe alleges that after reporting the alleged sexual assault, KU rowing coach Rob Catloth decided she “had a heart condition and that she needed physical therapy on her ankle even though there is nothing wrong with her heart, even though there is nothing structurally wrong with her ankle.” She contends that Catloth later told her she would not be attending an annual trip to Florida because of a lack of attendance, even though her practice absences were excused by a trainer.
Jane Doe alleges that early the next year, Catloth and KU’s team physician started a process to medically disqualify her from collegiate sports. On Feb. 16 she said she withdrew from the rowing team. Meanwhile, she alleged KU’s Institutional Opportunity and Access office continued to extend the time of its investigation into the sexual assault from January through March after she came forward about the incident to the office in late October.
“I reported my assault, and KU turned my experience into a living nightmare,” Jane Doe said. “Meanwhile, KU put the Jayhawk on my assailant’s back and told him to play football for the university.
“The Jayhawk is supposed to represent the spirit of the struggle for freedom. Today, that symbol stands for valuing football wins over the safety and success of women on this campus. I filed this lawsuit to make KU recognize what it means to be a Jayhawk again.”
Jane Doe also asserts that KU discriminated against her because of an unspecified disability. Like Tackett’s lawsuit, Doe’s also claims KU made false representations when it came to the safety of Jayhawker Towers.